Obadiah left and told Ahab where to find Elijah.
Ahab went to meet Elijah, and when he saw him, Ahab shouted, “There you are, the biggest troublemaker in Israel!”
You're the troublemaker—not me! You and your family have disobeyed the LORD's commands by worshiping Baal.
Call together everyone from Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. Be sure to bring along the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table.
Ahab got everyone together, then they went to meet Elijah on Mount Carmel. Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you try to have things both ways? If the LORD is God, worship him! But if Baal is God, worship him!”
The people did not say a word.
Then Elijah continued:
I am the LORD's only prophet, but Baal has 450 prophets.
Bring us two bulls. Baal's prophets can take one of them, kill it, and cut it into pieces. Then they can put the meat on the wood without lighting the fire. I will do the same thing with the other bull, and I won't light a fire under it either.
The prophets of Baal will pray to their god, and I will pray to the LORD. The one who answers by starting the fire is God.
“That's a good idea,” everyone agreed.
Elijah said to Baal's prophets, “There are more of you, so you go first. Pick out a bull and get it ready, but don't light the fire. Then pray to your god.”
They chose their bull, then they got it ready and prayed to Baal all morning, asking him to start the fire. They danced around the altar and shouted, “Answer us, Baal!” But there was no answer.
At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “Baal must be a god. Maybe he's daydreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he's asleep, and you have to wake him up.”
The prophets kept shouting louder and louder, and they cut themselves with swords and knives until they were bleeding. This was the way they worshiped, and they kept it up until time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no answer of any kind.
Elijah told everyone to gather around him while he repaired the LORD's altar. Then he used twelve stones to build an altar in honor of the LORD. Each stone stood for one of the tribes of Israel, which was the name the LORD had given to their ancestor Jacob. Elijah dug a ditch around the altar, large enough to hold about 14 liters. He placed the wood on the altar, then they cut the bull into pieces and laid the meat on the wood.
He told the people, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it over the meat and the wood.” After they did this, he told them to do it two more times. They did exactly as he said until finally, the water ran down the altar and filled the ditch.
When it was time for the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed:
Our LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Now, prove that you are the God of this nation, and that I, your servant, have done this at your command. Please answer me, so these people will know that you are the LORD God, and that you will turn their hearts back to you.
The LORD immediately sent fire, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones. It scorched the ground everywhere around the altar and dried up every drop of water in the ditch. When the crowd saw what had happened, they all bowed down and shouted, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”